It's taken me a while, but I've finally made my peace with bias tape. It really is amazing stuff - cut on the bias of the material, it conforms to curvy edges, perfect for necklines, seams with unravelly material, dress hems, and a million other projects where a finished edge is needed. Bias tape edges are so very neat and finished looking. They look quite lovely with contrasting fabrics. Bias tape even comes prepacked ready to use in all sorts of materials. Sounds like the perfect, right?
But why, oh why, does it have to be such a bugger to work with? Really, actually having to sew the stuff on is the only draw back.
My many-more-than-I-want-to-admit bias tape botch ups has afforded me a few lessons. Mistakes are the greatest lessons, yes? I am now a master.
Here is little list of things I've learnt about using bias tape:
- single fold bias tape is the greatest for lining necklines and seams on knits that do not need to stretch, but do need reinforced (like lap tee necklines). Place right sides together and stitch raw edges together. Turn right sides out, press, and top stitch tape in place.
- double fold bias tape has a narrower side. That narrow side is the side that should be up when you are sewing, so that you know for sure the wider side is also stitched.
- for sheer, slippery, or lightweight material, open up double folded bias tape and machine baste a raw edge along the raw edge of the fabric. Then fold the tape back up so the machine basted side is inside of the bias tape. Then do your regular stitching over top. This is also great for beginners, as you are ensured that you will not actually miss the fabric while sewing (as I am prone to do).
- if you are into glues, fabric glue stitck is also nice to hold your bias tape in place before stitching.
- for thicker material, do not bother with the machine baste, but sew slowly, adjusting the bias tape over the fabric as you go.
- for a nice curved edges, use your iron to shape the bias tape before sewing it on. The tape will stretch quite a bit to do curves, but heat and steam help it to hold the curvy shape.
- fold the ends of the tape back under about a 1/4" for a nice finish.
Got some more good tips? Please leave a comment and share your wisdom.